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Virginia Evaluates Threat Assessment Processes

NCJ Number
249124
Date Published
Author(s)
Becky Lewis
Annotation
This article describes Virginia’s legislatively mandated threat assessment system for all schools in the State, including colleges and K-12 schools.
Abstract
Under this legislation, every school is required to have a threat assessment team, which receives, assesses, and records data on all school threats, which are reported annually to the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS). The VCSCS is part of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Analysis of the data is performed by a professor associated with the Youth Violence Project of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Virginia’s legislation further mandates the development of model policies and procedures, as well as training materials and guides provided on the VCSCS website. Technical assistance is provided to schools by a threat-management consultant. In the near future, the VCSCS plans to release a customizable app that can serve as both an educational resource on the threat assessment process and a reporting tool. Members of threat assessment teams are expected to have expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration, and law enforcement. A single team may serve more than one school, and the team must be available to assess a potential threat. Alternatives to zero-tolerance school policies are emphasized, and case management is individualized. During the 2013-2014 school year, the vast majority of students identified as engaging in threatening behavior received disciplinary consequences and support services that enabled them to return to school. VCSCS encourages the identification and assessment of a broad range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors in identifying threats to school safety. The main results are presented from Virginia’s 2013-2014 Threat Assessment Survey.
Date Created: August 26, 2015